It was a hot Summer day. She had just gotten home after a nasty fight with her bench-partner at school. Her little finger was bleeding from a small cut and the black satin ribbon from her ponytail was untangled, messing up her hair. She was angry, and sweating. So she dumped her bag on the couch and walked in to the bathroom. After her bath, she went to the balcony to hang the wet towel. That’s when she saw him, sitting on the edge of the balcony of the apartment on the ground floor. He looked up, towards the third floor where she was standing. Their eyes met and in that moment, everything had changed. Both of them knew it was more than just a gaze.
Evening, she came down to play a game of hide & seek with the neighboring kids. In the middle of the game, she walked up towards the balcony of the apartment on the ground floor as he stood there, stunned by her sight. It was a long moment. They couldn’t take their eyes off of each other. The world around them froze. He could see mermaids dancing behind her and hear a piano in the background. But she walked away, smiling slyly at his confused face. This was a first for him. The attraction was real but he didn’t know what he was supposed to do. He was only seventeen, too young to understand the complexities of whatever this was.
Next morning at school, she was anxious. She couldn’t wait for the bell to ring so she could rush home and look at him from the balcony. She didn’t wait for the extra math class, even though she needed help with the subject. That day, she ran. She had finally found someone she could have. Her grandmother was going to be happy and proud of her after all.
She walked in to her house, dumped the school bag on the couch and hurried to the balcony. There, he was already waiting, looking up towards her balcony. Upon seeing her, he smiled and that took her heart. How could she do this to him, she thought, but to prove her self to her grandparents, he was supposed to take the fall. She smiled back for a moment when her grandfather called.
“Yes, Apa?” she walked inside. “What are you doing in the balcony? Go start your practice” he yelled, walking towards his bed.
That night, she told her grandmother about him. While serving the cold red pudding, Grandma smiled like she was pleased with her. She asked her if she could spare him, for his smile was the most mesmerizing one she’d ever seen. Grandmother’s eyes had grown furious but calm “you will never find anyone if you keep giving excuses, dear” she’d said, “there’s always a first, and then you qualify.”
Three days of balcony meets later, she was sure he was going to ask her to meet in person. At least that was what the scripts said. The mermaids and piano had done their job. Today, today was the d-day. “I won’t repeat my mother’s mistake” she’d always promised her grandparents, but this one time, she was hoping he wouldn’t follow her call. She wanted to keep seeing that charming smile everyday. But he sent a note through a kid, asking her to meet and she sighed. She had to do it. He had fallen into the trap after all.
A day later, he was found dead in the balcony, bleeding all over the floor, his heart missing.
“How’s the pudding, dear? Look I even made a smiley on it. Is it as nice as his?” Grandma said, her white fangs showing. She sobbed a little while gulping down the red blood pudding. It hadn’t brought her the joy she was promised. “His heart will always be with you now” Apa said while holding up the bowl with his claws, savoring the insides of the first guy she had ever killed, the guy with the most wonderful smile.